THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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After two One Night Stands and several Hardcore Homecomings it was TNA’s turn to pay tribute to the legacy of Extreme Championship Wrestling with Hardcore Justice, shown this past Friday night on the Extreme Sports channel here in Britain.
The show began with six man action as the Full Bloodied Italians, Tracey Smothers, Little Guido and Tony Luke, accompanied by Sal E. Graziano, faced Kid Kash, Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger.
To say that this was an entertaining opener would be an understatement. We had great action throughout from all six men, as well as a dance-off that had me in stitches, before Guido got the pin on Diamond after what used to be called the Un-Prettier. Nice stuff.
Then it was on to singles action as C.W. Anderson went up against Too Cold Scorpio.
The great action continued with two veterans who can still go like the clappers. Anderson looked in top form, while Scorpio looked like he wouldn’t be out of place in today’s X Division.
Scorpio pulled off a hell of a move to get the win, a backward somersault leg drop off the top rope, an awesome move.
The singles action continued as P.J. Polaco took on Stevie Richards, accompanied by Hollywood Nova and the Blue Tilly, or Blue Meanie Version 2.0.
You know what this match was a good reminder of? That Stevie Richards is a hell of a lot more than a stooge or a bit part player. If given the opportunity he can show how good he is.
Which is what he did here. These two put on a very enjoyable encounter, with plenty of nice back and forth action before Richards got the win after a super kick.
Afterwards, the annoyed Polaco took his kendo stick and took his frustrations out on Stevie, before the lights dimmed and everyone’s favourite beer chugger the Sandman appeared to show us a kendo stock should be used.
It was then on to the three-way dance with Brother Runt, Al Snow and Rhino.
Some nice exchanges throughout here, as well as some well-timed comedy moments from Snow and Runt involving a steel chair.
The two pins came in quick succession. Snow was the first to go after Runt took him out with the acid drop, with Rhino taking the win seconds later when he took Runt out with a gore. Once again, nice stuff.
It was back to tag-team action next as Team 3D, accompanied by Joel Gertner, answered the open challenge of those chair swinging freaks, Axl Rotten and the one-time Balls Mahoney, known here as Kahoneys.
Needless to say that the quintessential stud muffin came out with some great lines before the teams got down to business.
Okay, so this wasn’t the most technical match in the world, but it was still damn entertaining, with the inevitable brawl around the Impact Zone, plenty of weapons shots, as well as a light sabre duel. Yes, I used the phrase light sabre duel in a wrestling review. And I’ll probably never use that phrase in a wrestling review again.
The end came when the former Dudleys power bombed old Balls through a flaming table. By that I mean a table that was on fire. I wasn’t mentioning a table with a swear word before it you know.
But that wasn’t the end of things. As Brother Ray proclaimed Team 3-D as the best team in the world, New Jack and Mustafa Saeed, the Gangstas, appeared on the scene and took them apart, before all six men involved paid respect to each other.
It was then on to the big grudge match, with Raven taking on Tommy Dreamer, with Mick Foley as special referee.
Bow while this may have been the weakest match on the show, it was certainly the most dramatic as these two old rivals knocked seven sorts of you know what out of each other.
As well as action from the two main protagonists we also head appearances from Raven’s lackey Lupus, Hollywood Nova, Blue Tilly as well as the lovely Mrs. Dreamer, before Raven got the pin after taking the handcuffed Dreamer down with a DDT. Well, it wasn’t bad I suppose.
The main event saw TNA World Champion Rob Van Dam taking on his old rival Sabu, with Bill Alfonso accompanying both men to the ring.
For me this was RVD’s best outing in a TNA ring. But then again I think his opponent had a lot to do with that.
The fact that these two knew each other so well made this a great encounter, with plenty of the usual action you’d see from these two, and Van Dam putting on a performance we haven’t seen since the early days of the Invasion back in 2001.
The match came to an end with Van Dam moving out of the way as Sabu put himself through a table, with RVD sealing the deal with the five star frog splash.
Afterwards we had the inevitable gathering in the ring, with the ECW alumni thanking Dixie Carter for giving them their chance on the show.
In conclusion – in the days leading up to this show I read countless comments about how bad it was going to be.
Well, they couldn’t have been more wrong. As a nostalgia piece this was a great show, highly entertaining from beginning to end, and a timely reminder of just what the original ECW was all about.
But at the same time it’s kind of a damning indictment on the current TNA product that their best pay-per-view of the year was a tribute show to a dead promotion.
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